Freelance Success Story By Sarah Kolb-Williams

Early this year, I quit my job to edit books full time. In October, I built a website. In December, I printed business cards. And by mid-February, I was free.

I’d been working with a single client for five years but for the first time, I actually had to put myself out there and find more. So I did what all the freelance blogs told me to do: I started pitching my brains out.

But pitching has always been hard for me…I’m extremely uncomfortable approaching strangers…so I stopped. I had learned from self-publishing: you don’t need permission to put yourself out there. You just go put yourself out there.

With less self-applied pressure to “crack” authority blogs, I decided to write a book about what I know…editing and self-publishing…and I started my own blog. I started connecting with other people not for the angle, but because they’re fascinating people. And I started having a blast.

It’s now been six months since I began my full-time self-employment. During that time, the following has happened:

I was invited to write a guest post for a blog I’d since developed a genuine connection with, negating the need for an uncomfortable pitch.

I edited an illustrated novel that debuted at ComicCon to promote a new sci-fi television series, giving me the genre cred to attract more of the same.

I researched and edited a new edition of a respected guide to self-publishing, giving my own book greater legitimacy.

I’ve connected with clients whose work I particularly admire and who are planning to work with me on sequels, thus cutting down on time spent hustling.

Looking back, I took two distinct risks: making the initial leap, and giving up on my carefully researched marketing plan in favor of listening to my own strengths. One allowed me to open my schedule for whatever came; the other helped me attract people to whom I’m best suited.

Business really is all about connections.

Sarah Kolb-Williams is a writer and editor from the Twin Cities. She lives for Vietnamese food, serial commas, and science fiction (though not necessarily in that order). Sarah is the author of The Indie Author’s Guide to Book Editing, a resource that helps self-publishing authors find and work with the right freelance editor for their manuscripts. Find her at or on twitter: @skolbwilliams